We shape our buildings: thereafter they shape us.- Winston Churchill

Library Links:   see what other cities have done; what features should our library have?

My Thoughts:
The most outrageous thing is that while last year the council would not even budget to bridge finance $2.7 million (or $4.6 million as they calculated it); this year they have budgeted an additional $4 million (on top of the previously allocated $3 million) for a stand-alone library.

May 05/2004 Far too much time has passed without updating.  The "open" meeting has come and gone. It had absolutely nothing to do with the input from the Nov 27/03 meeting. The meeting was as much of a farce as I had expected. Even one of the 2 citizen members of the site selection committee seemed to be surprised with the presentation and indicated disagreement with the selection process and assignment of points in the site evaluation. While the committee had originally assigned Coleman Street as the western boundary of "downtown" as used in the site selection process, it stretched the definition to include the James Street/Bridge Street site (no longer fronting on Coleman Street). The presentation was clearly biased towards this site although it has many deficiencies. I'll put a link to my input to council on this if I can locate it. Of the 2 choices presented I easily favoured the Trudeau Motors site. However there have been some good ideas coming forth and covered in letters to the editor.  Gerry Boyce's idea of  the city owned lot north pf the Pinnacle Playhouse seems to make sense. This is discussed in Nancy Malachowski's article in the Apr 30/04 Community Press. It also makes sense to me to evaluate Carol Quinn's idea of  separating the art gallery from the existing library and  upgrading  the existing site.

Feb 25, 2004 
So far there is absolutely no indication of the new spirit of council openness on this or any other issue (including where's the mayor!) But I am concerned that the new library steering committee have already decided on the new library and although there will be a public meeting on it sometime after  the demolition of BCI is underway it will mean absolutely nothing. See my letter to the editor of the Intel (published feb 07/04) on this subject. Anyone who wants to see an adequate library anytime soon should be very concerned. After reading the editorial of saturday Feb 21 I felt I had to send another letter to the editor. It has not been published as yet but I will refer to it here - the "ordinary citizen" . Clearly, the mayor's idea of the "ordinary citizen" is one who will quietly accept whatever they are told.

Nov 27, 2003
While I am most reluctant to give up on the QCC realization of our new library it does seem that that possibility is dead.

But the fact remains; Belleville does need a new library. And while I am frankly skeptical of the motives and intentions of the Library Steering Committee (originally announced as a site selection committee), I must take them at their word that they really do want input on what the library should contain in the way of features and  facilities. It would have been much better if this had been the first initiative of the committee when it was formed in June of this year; but better late than never. A library is so important to the well-being and image of a community that it should be well considered. When Andrew Carnegie funded libraries all across the US and Canada (dozens in Ontario alone) he realized their importance as a community focal point, an impetus to education and culture and  a symbol of community pride. Often these were the most imposing stuctures in their communities, aside perhaps from the churches and banks and courthouse. Like a church, a library is far more than the edifice, but the importance of the structural appearance should not be underestimated. Whatever our intention, the library will be a symbol of our civic pride and of our confidence in our future. When we take visitors on a tour of our city they will expect to see our library. I want to be proud of it.
JRM Nov26, 2003
My written submission for the Nov 27, 2003 steering committee meeting. Would you like me to publish yours. If so send it to me. I would be happy to do so (I still have lots of webspace left as long as I stay away from those dancing hamsters!).

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 Updated May 05/04 by John R. Meale